SIOUX CITY, IOWA – In a game where roundhouse scoring streaks were the order of the evening, a final comeback by sixth-seeded West Virginia Tech turned out to be the difference in an opening-round National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ match-up Wednesday, March 11.
Morningside College, the Liston Bracket third seed, tallied 14 of the first 22 points in front of an appreciate partisan Maroon crowd at the Tyson Events Center. A quick 9-0 response from WVT put the game’s theme into play for the remainder of the 40 minutes.
Head coach Jamie Sale‘s squad appeared on the verge of moving on into the second of national tournament play, holding a nine-point lead (57-48) in the final minute of the third quarter. However, the Bears used the perimeter shooting of Alexandria Gray and Brittney Justice to forge a 21-11 charge in the fourth quarter and hold off the Mustangs down the stretch for a 72-69 decision.
Winding up a 17th 20-wins-or-more campaign in the last 18 years and an 18 straight NAIA Division II tournament appearance, Mside (23-10) was led by junior guard Sierra Mitchell (Pleasant Hill, Iowa), sophomore forward Sophia Peppers (Exira, Iowa) and senior forward/center Sydney Hupp (O’Neill, Neb.). Mitchell, upping her string of games with multiple-made three-point baskets to 30, led the offense with 19 points; Peppers, ending a strong span of posting double-figure points in 16 of her last 17 outings, finished with 14 point, seven rebounds, a blocked shot, two steals, and two assists; and Hupp, concluding a marvelous Maroon career in which she was part of the program’s all-time scoring top 15 and all-time rebounding first 10, tallied 13 points and four rebounds.